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PRESS PLAY: New ‘pop-up’ Culture Club kicks off

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By Emma Connors

Our new ‘pop-up’ Culture Club got off to a flying start last Friday. As part of The National Neighbourhood: Press Play project, the culture club is such a simple concept that connects local people to national institutions in a fun and easy way. For the next few months we’ll be piloting and supporting the development of this new culture club, inviting people from Whitehall, Cabra, Finglas and Ballymun to get involved.

Every second Friday (from 11am-2pm), our PRESS PLAY host, (the very welcoming Aifric Ní Ruairc) will accompany a group of people to the National Museum at Collins Barracks. They’ll be welcomed by the Museum staff and be whisked away for 2 hours to check out a new exhibit followed by pots of tea and chats. Over 25 people have already signed up for the next Culture Club that will take place Friday 18 November 2016.

We already have a wonderful mix of people from all over Finglas and Cabra and Ballymun involved

The minute we put the call out, we got a fantastic response to the idea. We already have a wonderful mix of people from all over Finglas and Cabra and Ballymun involved – people from Tir Na nÓg, Forever Young Choir, Finglas and Cabra Adult Education Centre, the Golden Girls Active Retirement Group and Cabra Community Centre..

Our hope is that this culture club really catches on and continues to grow over the coming months and years – by including the other national institutions in the Culture Club concept too. There’s absolutely no reason for it not to.

Dublin’s Culture Connects Culture Club (bit of a mouthful…don’t worry we’ll come up with something catchier!) Now, wouldn’t that be a wonderful little legacy in itself!

But enough from me – here’s a few words from our new Culture Club host herself…

Hi Aifric Ní Ruairc here,

What a fabulous first day the Culture Club had last Friday at Proclaiming A Republic: The 1916 Rising exhibition at the National Museum, Collins Barracks. Our group was made to feel so welcome by all of the Museum staff; from our wonderful tour-guide Johanna, to the Head of Education Lorraine Comer. So many other staff members popped in to introduce themselves. Everybody really went out of their way to make us feel at home.

We had an enthusiastic group for the first Culture Club made up of people from all over the world who are now living in Ireland. Some of our group have been in Ireland as little as four months while others have lived here for nearly 18 years. What was important to everyone was forging a connection with Irish culture. Some of our group had never been to an Irish museum before and had no idea that museums were free here. They were amazed that such an excellent resource has been sitting waiting for them to visit all along and they never knew that before today.

Although the exhibition is about Ireland, the themes of war, loss and rebellion are universally understood. Some of our new ‘culture clubbers’ are from Romania, Slovakia and Poland and they remarked that they could see echoes of their own country’s history in the stories being told in this exhibition. There was particular delight at the link Countess Markievicz had to Poland, through her husband. Another highlight for the group was learning about the battle of Phibsboro, and the Cabra Bridg,e as most of our group came from the Cabra area!

We learnt so much about each other in our post-tour chat over cups of tea in the Museum’s Learning Centre. One woman, Dorota, found the exhibition very interesting. She was immensely proud of her own history and the museums in Poland (her grandfather had been awarded the prestigious medal Virtuti Militari), but she had never considered visiting a museum here in Ireland. She said the fact that there were so many upcoming events for children and families means she will be back soon with her grand-daughter.

What came up during our discussion was that the group were eager to see more of what the Museum has to offer. After all, we’ve only explored one small corner of the Collins Barracks. There is plenty more to see!

But Culture doesn’t stop here, as we told our group, there are so many Irish theatres, exhibitions, galleries and museums and other national institutions waiting to be explored…


If you’re interested in joining us for the next Culture Club event please email



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